The Winding Road that is US41

June 10, 2007

Crossing in to Michigan from Wisconsin (and vice versa) is a bit like a trying to get a needle full of Novocaine/heroin/horse tranq in to a vein of an extremely thick skinned person. You keep going in, and then you come out, and then you are back in again, and all of a sudden you’re out. Finally you stick it. You are in Michigan for good! Hoorah.

Seriously, check out the map for yourself.

But what is amazing about it is that in the end, you are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the most beautiful places to drive through.

It’s about time for sleep. And then I get to wake up, hit up the Krispy Kreme for some donuts and milk, and hit the road. Got my podcasts ready, got the playlists set up, and the tank is filled. Let’s hope the E10/90 gas that they force on us here doesn’t hurt my mileage too much.

For the record, on Michigan gas, free of ethanol for the most part, I got just under 40 mpg (actually 38.3mpg, comparable to an efficient hybrid of today). We’ll compare what I get on ethanol laden gas. While it is technically “greener,” that benefit is lost if there is a significant drop in mileage. In fact, it is almost less green, for the amount of fossil fuel that must be burned to make up for it.

This will be the last time I fuel up in Illinois if all goes as well.

Which brings me to a short anectdote, before I truly depart for the night. A few weeks back, I dropped Jill off at the airport. While I waited for her plane to take off and safely become airborne, I started up conversation with a local elderly man. To say the least, he was a Yooper. We discussed our career paths, the weather, and the history of the Keweenaw. Throughout the conversation, logging was brought up, and we discussed how economically and environmentally friendly the logging industry is in the area. A tree reaches market maturity (the point it is viable to fall and mill for lumber) three times faster in the Keweenaw and surrounding areas than most other forests. We got to discussing the green impact this has on the area, and he mentioned that he was trying to be environmentally friendly. “Ya, dis here truck of mine, it git boot tweny, maybe tweny one mile per gallon. I go tru aboot two hunert, two hunet fity gallons per month. Pretty good der eh?”

At this, I laughed inside. Not because of the accent (I am trying to pick up as much of a Yooper accent myself, because I love it), but because he talks like an environmentalist, yet goes through more gasoline in one month than I do in a year.

To sleep, perchance to be awake during my travels. 

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